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How Will You Celebrate Pentecost?

Verger, Cross, Acolytes, and Dove Kite process at Pentecost at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, Missouri

Photo (c) Marjie Kennedy [MBK (Marjie)) from flickr, used under Creative Commons License (ANCS 2.0).

A friend wrote to me this week, in her quest to find ways to make Pentecost celebrations exciting and vibrant at the parish she serves. We seem to have a larger repertoire of ideas when it comes to Easter and Christmas, with their natural symbols and the way the celebrations are already fraught with the emotional weight that we bring to them, but the other five Principal Feasts 1  of our Church seem to get short shrift beside Christmas and Easter.

My friend’s question intrigued me: I’ve been thinking about what I’ve seen, experienced, and heard about, but I know that brief list barely scratches the surface.

  • A dove kite–a dove-shaped piece of fabric waved from a long pole, swooping and moving about the space to dramatize the Spirit’s presence.
  • Balloons in red, orange, and yellow, to represent fire but also as a wink to this feast as the birthday of the Church
  • My first Sunday as an assistant curate, I was surprised that the normal substance of the elements of the Eucharist were Angel Food Cake and Champagne instead of the wafers and wine I’d expected.
  • I’ve heard of red crepe paper tossed from person to person, each continuing to hold some of the paper, to remind the community of the way we are bound together in the Spirit–and are aflame with it ourselves.

Some of these ideas work well in some contexts, and would be unthinkable in others. I’d love to hear what will happen in your community, as you prepare for Pentecost. How will we make our Pentecost celebrations feel alive with the Spirit’s presence?


1 (The seven principal feasts are: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and All Saints Day.)

Matthew Griffin

About Matthew Griffin

I'm a priest serving in the Diocese of Niagara, with both a pastoral and an academic interest in the relationship between liturgy and theology. I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my beloved and our young son.
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